Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wool Mini Quilt

Here is my first original wool quilt. It is a mini quilt made for a challenge by my mini group the Bitty Bees. We were to make a quilt from the challenge 'Something Old is New Again'. This challenge gave me an idea on several different levels. First the quilt is made of wool which is old and becoming popular again. Second the tree is very old and scared, but is becoming new again with 3 new leaves. Thirdly is uses embroidery which  is old and is becoming popular again.
 I hand dyed the background using spot dying and casserole dying. I mixed up the three primary colors then took the wet white wool that was  cut to the size of a baking pan (ie. 9x13) and put it in the bottom of the pan and then spooned the dye onto the wool. The dye mixes together to form new colors during the dye process.  To casserole dye the wool bake it in the baking pan  adding  a little water and some vinegar to the pan on the side, but not onto the wool. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake in the oven at 325 degrees for an hour. You can do up to 10 pieces of wool at once, diluting the dye for the wool as you add more pieces. Therefore the pieces on the bottom will be darker than those on top.The piece I used for the tree was on the bottom while the background piece was near the top. 
  Then I added lots of different embroidery stitches to represent trees and flowers. I outlined the tree using Valdani # O78 and the scroll stitch and  the horizon is stitched with a stem stitch using Valdani O572.  Then I embroidered the green and blue flowers in the front with a few threads of my own hand dyed raw silk, the spider web roses were stitched with silken thread and the leaves are outlined with French Knots of  Silk Chenille thread, while the pinky spots in the sky were embroidered using a seed stitch and pink/orange variegated flax threads (Peach Dreams). The pistol stitched flowers used Silken Perle 'Monster Mash'. The Lazy Daisy stitched flowers of yellow and orange used Valdani #V1. I, also, used this Valdani to make the small flowers from Smockers Knots so they looked like they were in the distance.
The blue green Lazy Daisy flowers were stitched in Silken Chenille with the small flowers in the distance were straight stitched with Sea Grass (Blue Hawaii).
The vine border uses a stem stitch with Teal and Green thread dyed by Laura Wasilouiski.. The pistol stitched flowers in the center of the binding used Silken Perle (Monster Mash) to match the pistol stitch flowers in the center of the piece. The distance 'trees' on the hills were stitched using French Knots and variegated Valdani  O572.  The French Knots on the binding used the variegated orange and yellow Valdani #V1 like the flowers in the center of the quilt. I found the silk flower at the base of the tree in some of my 'found' items I had been saving. Just goes to show you, never throw anything out!!! I added a small patch of my hand dyed velvet to the tree trunk for a knot hole and outlined it with a Palistrina stitch and  the 'bark' on the tree was stitched using the stem stitch with black and purple variegated Valdani #M920. This was also used for the French Knot 'trees' on the hills closest to the large tree.
  I knew I did not need to machine stitch the binding to the quilt as the wool does not ravel. So I cut the binding pieces the same size as the quilt on each side and hand appliqued them onto the quilt. Not liking the edges being loose where the top binding covers the side, I decided to stitch the edges of the binding to the sides.
   I machine quilted this piece with wool thread in the top and cotton thread in the bobbin. It goes through my Bernina easily using a 90 top stitching needle. The wool thread I used to applique  and to do the quilting is 12 wt wool Genziana. It is fantastic to applique the wool as it melts into the wool so the applique does not show. Therefore, the embroidery stitches take front and center and not the applique stitches.
  I have designed and started to applique my next original quilt. I will keep you informed about the progress as I go along.

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